Have your­self A MERRY LIT­TLE CHRIST­MAS...

Add ex­tra sparkle and fun to your fam­ily Christ­mas with M&B’s prac­ti­cal ad­vice

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Festive Spirit -

Christ­mas is near­ing and we can’t wait to in­tro­duce our lit­tle ones to the fun of the fes­tiv­i­ties! But what about those dec­o­ra­tions your tot wants to put in his mouth, that ap­par­ently very scary bloke with a white beard, and the fact that your rou­tine is likely to go out of the ad­vent­cal­en­dar win­dow? Fear not, be­cause once you’ve armed your­self with all the clever tricks and life tweaks squeezed into th­ese pages, you’ll come through the crazi­ness un­scathed. Oh, and have a very happy fam­ily Christ­mas!

Deal with a room full Of rel­a­tives

This Christ­mas, it’s likely that your young­ster will be ex­posed to more so­cial sit­u­a­tions than he’s used to, and meet way more new peo­ple than usual. Help him feel at ease and take it all in his stride:

BE PRE­PARED TO SAY NO

Not all ba­bies cope with be­ing passed from one per­son to an­other, and this is sim­ply part of their na­ture. If this sounds like your tot, it’s okay to put his needs above the adults’.

LOOK FOR SIGNS THAT HE’S HAD ENOUGH Stay close by to your baby to re­as­sure him. If he isn’t happy with oth­ers, look for signs such as arch­ing his body or turn­ing away.

BE YOUR CHILD’S AN­CHOR

Tell your baby who you’re pass­ing him to, and only leave him if he seems com­fort­able. Stay close to a tod­dler as you in­tro­duce him to an un­fa­mil­iar rel­a­tives, and in­clude them in some­thing your tot en­joys. Do this in a pos­i­tive way: watch for him look­ing back at you for re­as­sur­ance when he’s with a rel­a­tive, for ex­am­ple, and say, ‘Would you like to show Great Aunt Dorothy the shiny new trac­tor that Santa gave you?’ This pro­vides a link to his life and makes it eas­ier for him to in­ter­act with some­one he doesn’t know.

DON’T FOR­GET HIS DAILY NEEDS

Even an out­go­ing child will have a low tol­er­ance for new sit­u­a­tions and new peo­ple if he’s feel­ing tired or hun­gry, so make sure he’s well fed and rested be­fore­hand.

TAKE A BREAK

Give your child short pe­ri­ods away from the crowd dur­ing which time you give him your un­di­vided at­ten­tion – per­haps go­ing for a lit­tle walk in the back­yard to­gether to set­tle him.

BE REALISTIC

Does it re­ally mat­ter if you don’t stay for the ex­pected three hours at Grandma’s house, or if your child doesn’t spend some time sit­ting on the knees of all five dis­tant cousins? In the grand scheme of things, prob­a­bly not.

BE PRAGMATIC

If your tot strug­gles to deal with all the vis­i­tors and noise on Christ­mas day, take heart in the knowl­edge that he’ll be bet­ter able to cope as he gets older.

Adapt your tot’s rou­tine to chaos!

Look at your Christ­mas di­ary and de­cide which events are im­por­tant and those that can be avoided. Then con­sider how th­ese events will im­pact on your tot’s sleep. “A baby or child who hasn’t had enough sleep won’t be all that in­ter­ested in food, or play­ing, so sleep has to be a pri­or­ity,” ex­plains ma­ter­nity nurse Lisa Clegg.

PUT YOUR CHILD FIRST

“If your baby is un­der one, try to keep sleep times as nor­mal as pos­si­ble,” Lisa says. Adapt the sched­ule to fit around your child’s rou­tine. If sit­ting down to eat Christ­mas lunch at 1pm won’t work be­cause it’s in the mid­dle of your tod­dler’s two-hour nap, then why not eat at 3pm?

MOVE NAP TIME?

If tim­ing just isn’t flex­i­ble in your fam­ily, and you want your tot to par­tic­i­pate, then you’ll need to move his nap for­ward. If he has two naps a day, it won’t hurt to miss the first one, as long as you bring the sec­ond nap for­ward. If he only has one nap, then bring that for­ward a lit­tle or push it back – ex­cite­ment will keep him go­ing a bit longer. “Don’t be tempted to skip the nap,” Lisa says. “You can’t ex­pect him to be happy with no sleep. And if he doesn’t get enough sleep one day, he’ll be tired and want to nap ear­lier the fol­low­ing day. Adapt your rou­tine for a few days, but get back to your nor­mal rou­tine as soon as you can.”

CATCH UP ON SLEEP

Even the best-laid plans can go awry, and an un­ex­pected vis­i­tor, last-minute change of itin­er­ary, or a tot who won’t set­tle away from home may well re­sult in a late nap. A young baby should re­spond to his usual sleep cues, so fol­low his nor­mal pre-sleep rou­tine as soon as you can and find him some­where quiet to sleep. If he’s fight­ing sleep, be­ing pushed along in his pram, or taken for a drive in the car, should do the trick, and, if nec­es­sary, he can be trans­ferred to the cot once fully asleep. “A tod­dler may ap­pear full of beans even though it’s past his nor­mal nap­time,” Lisa says. “But, if you can, con­vince him to lie down for a short while on the sofa, or have some quiet time in bed, and he’s likely to fall asleep. If that’s not pos­si­ble, then dis­trac­tion will de­lay the im­pend­ing melt­down – a walk out­side of­ten works. But af­ter that, it may be time to call it a day and head home!”

KEEP LIFE THE SAME

It’s tempt­ing to use the Christ­mas hol­i­days to make other changes, such as giv­ing up a dummy or start­ing toi­let train­ing: af­ter all, you’ve got time off work and your part­ner and fam­ily are around for sup­port. “Don’t be tempted to make un­nec­es­sary changes,” Lisa says. “Keep things as nor­mal as pos­si­ble, so that the changes you need to make don’t feel so big to your child. It’s es­pe­cially im­por­tant when this in­volves giv­ing up a source of com­fort, such as his dummy. Save this for Jan­uary.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.